Page:Tlingit Myths and Texts.djvu/74

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[bull. 39

my account, try it in the fall. Then they always come down into the thick timber below the glacier, and you can come up there with dogs."

In the autumn, therefore, they prepared to kill the sheep. The people were told to put the sheep heads toward the rising sun and throw their skins about anywhere without drying, for they thought that this would make the mountain sheep let their friend go.

Then the mountain-sheep chief said to the man, "They are going to let you go now, because all of your fathers are suffering very much from not having their skins well dried."

The mountain sheep could easily see when all of his friends started out to fight for him, and they got him ready to send down to them. Then they said, "Now you will be allowed to start down to them." When they got down far enough the dogs which were coming up in front met the flock he was standing among. Then they took off his mountain-sheep skin and put it aside, leaving him in human form, and he chased all the dogs away from them.

He stood in the midst of the flock of sheep, and all the people stood below. Then he said to his friends, "Do not kill any more mountain sheep, for they will now let me go among you." So they broke all of the shafts of the spears they had used in fighting the mountain sheep and threw them away.

When he came down he smelt like the things that grow on the tops of cottonwood trees (doxkwa nk!). They brought him into the house and he saw the mountain-sheep skins lying about there at random. Then he said, "They let me come among you again that I might have you dampen these, hang them up, and dry them thoroughly." After they had worked upon the skins for some time they put red paint upon them and eagle down. The man who had come down from among the sheep told his people to say this to the skins while they were doing so: "We will put your skins in just the position in which they came off from the flesh."

In the morning all of the houses shook. Every piece of flesh that had come off of the mountain sheep was in its place in the skins, and, when the man who had come back to them opened the door, they came down from the drying racks and marched off. But they had been so long among the Indians that just before they reached the highest mountain where they belonged they lost their way and became scattered over all the mountains. Because the mountain sheep once saved (or captured) a man, they have beards and look in other respects like human beings.

After this the mountain sheep sent a spirit called Yixa (A-very- young-man (or -yek)) to the man who had been rescued, to be his strength (yek). There was great rejoicing among his friends when

this spirit began to manifest itself in him, and all commenced to